Kim and I have been talking a lot about cars during the past few months.
She drives a 1996 Honda Accord with 226,000 miles on it. The car runs fine and has served her well, but she's begun to think about the possibility of upgrading.
I still drive my beloved 2004 Mini Cooper, but the little guy has had some issues lately. (Right now, it's in the shop because the clutch burned out. In the process of replacing that, the mechanic discovered that the transmission needed to be replaced — thanks to towing the car behind our RV for 15 months.)
To top it all off, since we moved to our new place in July, we've come to the realization that we might need a cheap compact pickup truck. (If we bought one, we'd buy a beater.)
Neither one of us is ready to make a move yet. We both believe that you should drive a car until it dies. (Although once I get the bill for the repairs to my Mini, I may be singing a different tune.) Still, it doesn't hurt to gather resources while we wait.
Earlier this week, for instance, Automotive News released a comprehensive Guide to Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle Programs. This 12-page PDF [1.7mb] includes a run-down of dealer fees, the types of vehicles that qualify, and — most importantly — warranty details.
I have mixed feelings (and experiences) about buying a used car from a dealership. Buying a certified pre-owned vehicle would allay some of my concerns.